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7 months after Prez assent, govt yet to notify Sexual Harassment Act

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 19:23

New Delhi: Amid a raging debate over safety of women at workplace, a key legislation in this regard is stuck between WCD and Law ministries and is yet to be enforced despite the President giving his assent over seven months ago.

The Women and Child Development Ministry, which is supposed to notify the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, has not done so claiming that without finalising the rules, the law would be a "mockery on public."

Preeti Sudan, Additional Secretary in the WCD Ministry confirmed that the law has not yet been notified.

When asked why the notification has been delayed, she said, "Notifying a law without framing the rules is a mockery on public. How will the law get implemented without the rules."

She, however, said the final draft of the rules was sent to the Law Ministry yesterday and that the law will be notified soon.

Clause 3 of section one of the Act states that the law will come into force the day it is notified by the central government. In this case, it is the WCD Ministry.

However, several senior officials of the Ministry seemed to be ignorant about the procedure of notification as they maintained that the Law has been notified on April 22 this year after it got the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee.

Immediately after the incident of a woman journalist in Tehelka being allegedly assaulted by the magazine`s editor Tarun Tejpal came to the fore, the WCD Ministry wrote to the Law Ministry seeking approval of the rules framed by it.

It also charged the Law Ministry with sitting on the issue for months.

But the Law Ministry shot back saying the rules were not pending with it. It said the WCD Ministry is yet to submit the final version of rules, therefore, it cannot give its go ahead without going through the draft.

The law makes it mandatory for all offices with 10 or more employees to have an internal complaints committee (ICC) to deal with sexual harassment cases.

First Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 19:23
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